“Exercising is extremely important for a healthy mind and body.”
“Sure. But I’ll start from tomorrow. (and then tomorrow gets changed to the day after tomorrow) “
“I know I should cook a healthy meal. “
“Sure. But today let me just microwave the contents from that packet. “
Arguments between the logical and the emotional side of an individual are something we all can relate to; especially, when it comes to wellness. After all, the rewards are usually not immediate and our need for instant gratification acts up, creating a barrier for anything the logical mind wants to do.
There has often been, a recurring concern expressed by our clients. They want to incorporate wellness programs but think that while a Yoga or a Tai-Chi session may seem quite focused and interesting, these sessions do not create a lasting behavioural change in the participants. A ‘lasting behavioural change’ thus became our cue to designing something that could facilitate a sustainable change in habits. And this gave birth to our mobile-based, gametised microlearning wellness challenge – ‘The Mind Over Matter Challenge’. It was curated keeping the most basic instructional design and habit-forming strategies in mind.
A series of daily obstacles, set for a period of 21 days (can be made for a longer or a shorter duration), they fit seamlessly into the natural flow of a work day / weekend and are based on voluntary participation. However, the level of participation seen had been so gratifying that I couldn’t resist sharing with you some of the elements that contributed to the success of this virtual wellness module.
Knowledge of the end goal; What is the problem being addressed? What is the target behavioural change? How can it be quantified? – are some of the questions that one should have answers to before starting work on curating any training module.
The module, like any other team challenge, was designed with pre-designated teams. The scoreboard was such that every individual’s contribution was equally quantified. This was made possible by averaging the aggregate team scores. This not only enabled fair distribution of scores but also eliminated in-house competition among individual teams. Furthermore, this format encourages active participants to influence their counterparts to also participate. With a delightful mix of additional social elements such as sharing an answer or a picture of something (something like a picture depicting their recent hobby, and several others), the challenge saw participants rope each other in and encourage each another!
Developing a habit is a gradual process, but the results are long-term. This requires employing the habit-science tried and tested strategy of cue, routine, and rewards. We achieved this by integrating notifications that triggered cues and rewarded the right behavior with bonus point and achievement badges!
It is easier for participants to appreciate the information shared, when the speaker possesses credibility. Similarly, the content of your module needs to be rooted in science, instead of vague celebrity trends. This implies it to be well-researched and appropriate references to be cited when necessary. The form and format also plays a crucial role. From short videos, interesting reads, reminders, reinforcement and reflective questions – there is a lot to choose from! A mixed variety keeps the engagement rate high, throughout.
There are several ways to integrate a wellness module with L&D programs. Health bootcamps, gym memberships, group marathons have been some of the tried & tested successful methods, in the past. However, the VUCA world we find currently find ourselves in requires us to relook at almost everything – wellness included. It goes without saying that an employee’s mental, physical, and social wellness is directly tied to the productivity and profitability of any team, and thus, an organisation. Thus, it is important for leaders to take a hard look at their existing practices and make the required changes.